Leads 101: The Lead Acquisition Process

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Leads 101: The Lead Acquisition Process

This article is courtesy of our partners at ActiveProspect.

Overview #

Welcome to the lead acquisition process!

WAIT. What’s a lead?

A lead refers to a consumer who has expressed interest in buying a product or service. In this case, the consumer is also a lead. This means that – at a high level – the lead acquisition process is the act of converting the consumer’s interest into lead data (name, address, email, etc.) that is then sold by a lead seller and bought by a lead buyer.

You may be asking yourself why companies need to buy leads. Don’t they already get customers through their own marketing and advertising?

Yes and no. While most companies do get leads from their own efforts, direct marketing can be expensive. By buying additional leads from other companies whose business it is to generate and sell leads, lead buyers can lower customer acquisition costs and increase their reach to more consumers, thereby increasing their own sales. This has led to an entire industry growing out of this need to acquire more leads, which is also called the lead acquisition process.

This process – also sometimes referred to as lead generation (lead gen), lead buying & selling, etc. – refers to the lead data transactions between lead sellers, lead buyers, and consumers. While in real life there are multiple scenarios and multiple players, this article will simplify the process to better explain how the relationships work.

Example Scenario #

Our cast of characters in this lead acquisition story includes Tracey, Marco, and Carley. Each person has their own processes, which you can learn about in more detail in their perspective stories. For now, let’s identify what each person needs.

  • Tracey as the lead buyer needs to acquire more customers for her bank.
  • Carley as the consumer needs an auto loan to buy a new car.
  • Marco as the publisher and lead seller has generated leads that he needs to sell.

Tracey isn’t getting enough new customers for her bank through their own efforts, so she contacts Marco to buy more leads from him. She is especially interested in leads who indicate an intent in the near future to apply for an auto loan, which her bank provides as a service. Tracey knows that consumers who sign up for loan accounts are more likely later to sign up for additional services, like checking and savings accounts.

Carley needs a new car but doesn’t have enough money to buy one outright. That means she needs an auto loan to cover the purchase cost. She starts researching online for auto loans with the best interest rates, and she finds a site called www.bestcarloans.com that takes her contact information and forwards it to loan lenders.

Marco has recently published a website called www.bestcarloans.com that gathers consumers’ information. (Because Marco is generating these leads directly from the website he created and manages, he is a Publisher. When he then sells those leads, he is also a Lead Seller.) As part of the leads he is pulling from his site, Carley’s information is included. When Marco sells these leads to Tracey, she then receives Carley as a lead.

Tracey forwards the leads to her sales department, who call Carley to discuss the bank’s auto loans. Carley applies and is accepted, and soon she’s on her way to an auto dealership with her auto loan documents in hand. In no time, Carley has used those documents to obtain keys to her new car.

Marco made money by selling a lead to Tracey, Tracey got a lead that increased her customer base, and Carley bought a new car. Everyone wins!

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Updated on 9 June 2022